Home News Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who kneels for National Anthem, accuses LVMPD of...

Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who kneels for National Anthem, accuses LVMPD of brutality

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Michael Bennett, one of the NFL’s most vocal critics of racial injustice, has said police threatened to shoot him last month in Las Vegas for “simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

The Seattle Seahawks defensive end says the incident occurred as he was heading back to his hotel after attending the Conor McGregor v Floyd Mayweather fight, and heard what sounded like gunshots.

FILE – This Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 file photo Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, left, sits during the playing of the national anthem next to Justin Britt, center, and another teammate before an NFL preseason football game between the Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks in Oakland, Calif. Bennett is accusing Las Vegas police of racially motivated excessive force when he says he was detained at gunpoint on Aug. 27, 2017, handcuffed and later released without charges following a report that gunshots were heard at a casino hotel. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg,File)

“I ran away from the sound, looking for safety,” he wrote in a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday. “Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“A police officer ordered me to get on the ground. As I laid on the ground… he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my fucking head off’… a second officer came over and forcefully jammed his knee into my back, making it difficult for me to breathe.”

Bennett said he was terrified during the incident. “I felt helpless as I lay there,” he wrote. “All I could think of was ‘I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat’.”

Bennett says he was detained in the back of a police car until he was released when officers recognized him as an NFL player and not “a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man”.

Bennett has been vocal in his support of Colin Kaepernick, who has yet to find an NFL team after refusing to stand for the national anthem in a protest against racial injustice last season. Bennett says he intends to do the same: “I sit during the national anthem because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have… when you are seen as a ‘nigger’ you will be treated that way.”

Kaepernick offered his support for Bennett on Wednesday. “This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter. “I stand with Michael and I stand with the people.”

The incident may have wider repercussions: Bennett says he has retained civil rights attorney John Burris and is exploring “all my legal options”. The Guardian has contacted the Las Vegas Police Department for comment.

Bennett is writing a book, titled Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. “I think the title is just a title to start a conversation so people want to read it,” Bennett has said. “The book I’m focusing on is issues that I see that are important in America, and they are my views and opinion.”

Copyright © 2017 theguardian.com. All rights reserved.
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1 COMMENT

  1. This is such shit. He was a “Man running from a crime scene. This has nothing to do with being black. I used to like this guy a lot. Now, He is just a race baiting idiot! Get him off our team! No 12’s for Bennett

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